When you’re trekking across the Alaskan wilderness in an RV, you’re going to need heat and a lot of it. You could leave your engine running all night long, but that’s neither safe nor practical. You could use your propane tank but then how would you power all of your other gadgets?
No, you need a good RV heater, but heaters come in all shapes and sizes. Your office space heater is not powerful enough to heat an entire RV. The last thing you want is to have to gather around the heater inside like you’re outside warming yourself by a campfire.
What you need is an RV heater capable of heating at least a few hundred square feet of space and you know that your little space heater isn’t going to do the trick. You need the best RV heater money can buy so that you don’t wake up like a bunch of frozen fish sticks.
Luckily, we have the answer to the question: What is the best RV heater? Here are 10 of the best of the best so that you will feel as warm and cozy sleeping in your RV as you do chilling at the crib.
The Best RV Heater
Top of the list is the powerful Big Buddy Grey Indoor-Safe RV Propane Heater from Mr. Heater. This baby packs a real wallop, shooting out 18,000 BTUs of heat. That’s enough to heat your RV and then some! We’re talking about a heater capable of heating 300 square feet of space. Plus, it is environmentally safe, burning propane at nearly 100% efficiency.
Safety is first with the Big Buddy Propane Heater. If you happen to knock it over as you walk by, it will automatically shut off. It also shuts off if it detects a drop in oxygen levels or if the pilot light goes out. Warning for all of you pushing your RV up a mountain – It does shut off if you get 7,000 feet above sea level.
Wherever you’re going at whatever time of year you’re going, when you need heat inside of your RV, this is the RV heater you need. FYI, propane tank is not included.
The second of our overall best RV heaters is also made by Mr. Heater. It is the Big Buddy Grey’s little brother – the Mr. Heater MH18B Portable Propane Heater. Just like the Big Buddy, this one offers 4,000 BTUs up to 18,000 BTUs of radiant heat. You can use it indoors or outdoors (if you don’t know how to build your own campfire that is!).
This RV heater has all of the safety features of the larger version – near 100% efficiency, auto shut off if tipped over, pilot light goes out, or oxygen levels start to drop. It has three different heat settings from low to high and attaches to a propane tank which is not included.
Do not, and we repeat do not hook this heater up to other attachments that run on propane. It’s dangerous and it will void the warranty.
The Best RV Electric Heater
This is one of the newest models of electric heaters, the HCX9115E Slim Style Convector Heater from DeLonghi. Beyond being sleek and stylish, you can either put it on the floor freestanding or you can mount it on the wall. It’s a 1500 watt heater capable of heating 300 square feet of space.
Another unique feature of this heater is its dual fan system which helps heat the space faster and disperses warm air better throughout the RV. It also has digital controls including a number of different heat settings on an LED display that you can adjust or set on a timer to conserve energy.
We love this electric heater because it is modern and eco-friendly. It goes the extra mile to prevent accidents. If you accidentally knock it over, a buzzer will go off before it automatically shuts off. If the unit overheats it will shut off and it has a setting to prevent freezing. By far, this is one of the best electric heaters you can buy!
Though the Homegear Infrared Electric Quartz Tower Heater stands two feet tall, it is very lightweight but packs a powerful punch. It is 1500 watts but you can set it to only 750 watts to conserve energy when you don’t need the entire RV heated.
You’ll notice what looks like reflectors inside the heating chamber and they are. These reflectors help to aim the infrared heat so that the warm air disperses where you need it and not all over the place. Like some of the other heaters on our list, this one comes with safeguards to prevent fires including auto shut off when tipped or overheated.
If you want a heater that is both effective and good looking that runs on electric, this one fits the bill. Its tower build makes it ideally suited to fit in cramped spaces while adding some style to the décor inside of your RV.
The Best RV Propane Heater
Mr. Heater does it again – this is our 3rd Mr. Heater recommendation and that is a testament to the types of products the company makes! This Buddy Grey Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater runs on propane and is great for small RVs. It doesn’t heat spaces as big as the others on our list but the radiant heat is good for up to 225 square feet.
The Buddy Grey Radiant Heater comes in both 4,000 BTU models and 9,000 BTUs plus can be used both indoors and outdoors. You use less propane than you would using some other heater because it burns cleaner at almost 100% fuel efficiency.
Like all of Mr. Heater’s other products, this one automatically shuts off when it is tipped, oxygen levels get low, or the pilot light goes out. Mind your altitude with this one as well. It shuts off if you get to elevations 7,000 feet above sea level.
Our second choice for best propane RV heater is another one from Mr. Heater. It is a smaller version called the F232000 Buddy Portable Propane Heater. Still it shoots out 9,000 BTUs of heat, capable of heating a space of up to 225 square feet.
It’s energy efficient like the other Mr. Heater RV heaters and it comes with the company’s standard safety features – auto shut off for tipping, low oxygen, or unlit pilot lights. Of course, you’ll need to purchase the propane tank separately but it also comes with a swivel-out regulator for easy access.
Fold down handles make this heater easy to tote around on a camping trip and you can use it inside the RV or outside instead of a campfire. Be sure not to hook up any other propane burning appliances to it or else you’ll void your warranty.
The Best RV Space Heater
All space heaters used indoors have to be treated with care (more on this later). The Homegear Infrared Electric Portable Space Heater can heat up large RVs – up to 1500 square feet! Using a combination of mica and quartz infrared tubes, this mammer jammer heats up large spaces very quickly.
One of the unique features of this space heater is its quiet dual fan system. It also comes with a remote control so that you can change the heat settings without having to get up. You can see what the temperature is just by looking at the LED display.
The Infrared Electric Portable Space Heater only stands a foot and a half tall, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you – it is powerful. It runs on 1500 Watts and heats up larger spaces faster than any of the other heaters on this list – think about that!
Our second choice for best space heater for your RV is this 1500 watt Portable Space Heater from Dr Infrared. It’s kind of heavy, weighing 24 pounds but it comes with many awesome features. For one, it’s powerful enough to heat up a large RV. It uses a dual heating system to quickly heat up a room from 50 degrees up to 86 degrees.
Even though the Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater is a tad on the heavy side, you really don’t have to lug it around. It comes on caster wheels so you can just slide it to wherever you want it to go. At its highest temperatures, you can barely hear the blowers working plus it comes with a remote control to change temperature settings from a distance.
You’ll never have to change the filters and it comes with both energy saving features – auto shut off after 12 hours straight of use – and safety features like auto shut off for overheating and tipping. You can’t go wrong with either one of these electric space heaters!
The Best RV Catalytic Heater
Searching for the best RV catalytic heater, the Camco Olympian Gas Catalytic Heater had really no competition. It runs on low pressure gas and can be adjusted to crank out 1,600 BTUs up to 3,000 BTUs per hour. Since it is a wave heater, there are no fans so it makes no noise when it is running.
You have the option of mounting this heater on the wall or setting it on the floor or table. Because this is a gas catalytic heater, having the automatic shut-off valve is crucial. If the system detects a leak or if it doesn’t ignite, it will automatically shut off to prevent fire or explosion.
While it doesn’t heat as big of a space as some of the other heaters on this list, if you are looking specifically for a catalytic heater, we think this one is the best value for your money.
The Best RV Ceramic Heater
A lot of people nowadays prefer ceramic heaters because they are safer than traditional space heaters. On our quest to find the best ceramic heater for your RV, we pick the Lasko 751320 Ceramic Tower Electric Space Heater from Englewood Marketing Group. It stands about two feet tall and kicks out 1.5 kilowatts of heat.
Temperatures are regulated by the ceramic elements inside of the heater which helps to prevent overheating. It automatically shuts off if temperatures get too high. But when it comes to convenient features, you won’t find a better heater.
It comes with a multi-function remote control. It oscillates to evenly distribute warm air, a programmable thermostat, and a 7 hour timer so that you don’t waste electricity. For maximum comfort and convenience, if you’re looking for the best RV ceramic heater, this is it.
Safety First – Tips for Using Your RV Heater Safely
One last thing before you take off on that trip. Space heaters can be very dangerous. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), in winter, the biggest culprits for house fires are space heaters and that applies to RVs too, causing at least 25,000 of them each year. With that said, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure that the outlet that you plug an electric space heater in is sufficient for the wattage. 1500 watt space heaters should only be plugged into a 120 volt outlet or higher.
- Keep flammable materials away from heaters (paper, clothing, curtains, etc.)
- Never use an extension cord to plug in your space heater unless it is a heavy duty one (at least 14 gauge)
- Always be present when a space heater is turned on – do not leave it unattended.
- In cold weather, a white fog will appear if your propane heater is leaking fuel – turn it off if you see this.
- And lastly, check all propane tanks and connections for leaks before attaching a propane heater.